Monday, January 25, 2010

Consider the Source II

This is the second in what is likely a long ongoing series of posts exhorting readers to evaluate what they read. Here's the first article.

According to, Thousands of Americans died from H1N1 even after receiving vaccine shots (free registration required for full article):
(NaturalNews) The CDC is engaged in a very clever, statistically devious spin campaign, and nearly every journalist in the mainstream media has fallen for its ploy. No one has yet reported what I'm about to reveal here.

It all started with the CDC's recent release of new statistics about swine flu fatalities, infection rates and vaccination rates. According to the CDC:

• 61 million Americans were vaccinated against swine flu (about 20% of the U.S. population). The CDC calls this a "success" even though it means 4 out of 5 people rejected the vaccines.

• 55 million people "became ill" from swine flu infections.

• 246,000 Americans were hospitalized due to swine flu infections.

• 11,160 Americans died from the swine flu.

Base on these statistics, the CDC is now desperately urging people to get vaccinated because they claim the pandemic might come back and vaccines are the best defense.

But here's the part you're NOT being told.

The CDC statistics lie by omission. They do not reveal the single most important piece of information about H1N1 vaccines: How many of the people who died from the swine flu had already been vaccinated?

Many who died had already been vaccinated

The CDC is intentionally not tracking how many of the dead were previously vaccinated. They want you (and mainstream media journalists) to mistakenly believe that ZERO deaths occurred in those who were vaccinated. But this is blatantly false. Being vaccinated against H1N1 swine flu offers absolutely no reduction in mortality from swine flu infections. [1]

And that means roughly 20% of the 11,160 Americans who died from the swine flu were probably already vaccinated against swine flu. That comes to around 2,200 deaths in people who were vaccinated! [2]

How do I know that swine flu vaccines don't reduce infection mortality? Because I've looked through all the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that have ever been conducted on H1N1 vaccines. It didn't take me very long, because the number of such clinical trials is ZERO. [3]

That's right: There is not a single shred of evidence in existence today that scientifically supports the myth that H1N1 vaccines reduce mortality from H1N1 infections. The best evidence I can find on vaccines that target seasonal flu indicates a maximum mortality reduction effect of somewhere around 1% of those who are vaccinated. The other 99% have the same mortality rate as people who were not vaccinated. [4]

So let's give the recent H1N1 vaccines the benefit of the doubt and let's imagine that they work just as well as other flu vaccines. That means they would reduce the mortality rate by 1%. So out of the 2,200 deaths that took place in 2009 in people who were already vaccinated, the vaccine potentially may have saved 22 people. [5]

Sources for this story include:

Washington Post

[1] Strong assertions require strong evidence. As we see, there will be no such evidence provided.

[2] Numbers follow from the assertions above, but those assertions are still baseless.

[3] Concluding that there is no effect because he has read no studies (or even because no studies exist) falls under the category of "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

[4] Wikipedia summary on effectiveness of flu vaccines. I am not qualified to judge the relative goodness of scientific studies, but I note that this article cites peer-reviewed work from The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vaccine, JAMA, and The Lancet. Against an unsupported assertion that studies show, at most, a 1% reduction in mortality, I'll take the peer-reviewed journals, or even the New York Times. For example:
In a new study reported at Wednesday’s meeting, Dr. David K. Shay, who led a team from the C.D.C. and eight state health departments, found that full immunization against flu provided about a 75 percent effectiveness rate in preventing hospitalizations from influenza complications in the 2005-6 and 2006-7 influenza seasons. (The 75 percent rate could range, according to a standard statistical measure known as confidence intervals, from 41 percent to 91 percent.)
The assertion of a 1% reduction in mortality is not necessarily orthogonal to a 41-91% reduction in hospitalizations. The claim of 1% (mortality reduction) is intended to say "vaccination is not useful". The claim of 41-91% (hospitalization reduction) would invalidate that.

[5] The math is fine. The assumptions, as listed above, are suspect, at least.

I could go on. The gist of it is that this inflammatory article sets up straw men, assumes a lot (everything, it seems), draws conclusions based upon assertions which appear to be in conflict with peer-reviewed research, asserts intention behind acts of omission or commission, and generally ignores science, statistics, and logic in favor of repetition, unsupported assertion, straw men, passion, inflammatory statements, and righteousness.

I love this quote:
Through its release of misleading statistics, the CDC wants everyone to believe that all of the people who died from H1N1 never received the H1N1 vaccine. That's the implied mythology behind the release of their statistics. And yet they never come right out and say it, do they? They never say, "None of these deaths occurred in patients who had been vaccinated against H1N1."
Of course they don't say that. Nobody in the scientific community would ever claim that vaccination is 100% protection. Vaccination is a way of engaging the immune system, bolstering our natural ability to resist disease. Ideally, vaccination is a way of engaging the immune system of the population, so that the disease does not become epidemic.

Followed up with:
So they just gloss over the point and imply that vaccines offer absolute protection against H1N1 infections. But even the CDC's own scientists know that's complete bunk. Outright quackery. No vaccine is 100% effective. In fact, when it comes to influenza, no vaccine is even 10% effective at reducing mortality. There's not even a vaccine that's 5% effective. And there's never been a single shred of credible scientific information that says a flu vaccine is even 1% effective.
A wonderful straw man argument: they don't claim 100% effectiveness, so it's suspicious that they don't achieve it! Alongside assertions about lack of effectiveness in reducing mortality, ignoring the peer-reviewed evidence that flu vaccines provide a great deal of reduction in hospitalization -- clearly a benefit, and likely indicative of a reduction in mortality (unless everyone who dies of the flu does so outside the hospital).

The hits just keep on coming. Go ahead and read the whole thing, if you must. I'd like to call out one more thing, though. The author proudly notes "Sources for this story include" CNN and the Washington Post. But neither of those articles has anything to say about vaccine effectiveness. The author is counting on you not following those links, but just assuming the authority of CNN and the WaPo to convince you that the views in the article are mainstream.

They're not.

I don't know anything about -- or at least I didn't until I read this article. Now I know that I'm not particularly interested in what they have to say.